JAI HO: FAQ
by Kendra Crossen
“Jai Baba” is the familiar phrase commonly used by Baba-lovers, followers of Avatar Meher Baba, as a greeting or an exclamation of praise for or remembrance of the Master.
For some time, on his Internet chats, Bhau Kalchuri has been using the expression “Jai Ho.” These are some excerpts from a discussion of “Jai Ho” that took place on a Facebook group for Baba-lovers. Since it’s a closed group. I omit the writers’ names, but I place numbers between the separate comments by different people. The comments below are all by other people, not me. I don’t have much of an opinion about “Jai Ho.” I don’t say it and don’t understand why Bhau is saying it or what it has to do with Meher Baba, if anything.
It is my impression that Mischa Rutenberg’s delightful “Jai Ho” composition (see last comment, #13, and the video below it) has nothing to do with Bhau’s use of “Jai Ho” as a greeting or exclamation, but I have not asked him.
What does Bhau say, exactly?
Bhau Kalchuri originated Jai Ho, Jai Jai Kar Ho and it is sweet and loving. Jai Baba.
Actually Bhauji would say: “Jai Ho, Jai Ho, Jai Jai Kar Ho!
What does “Jai Ho” mean?
”Jai Ho” is a sort of fixed phrase that can be translated in a couple of ways, though “Victory unto You” is not quite the right sense. If so, it is a foreshortened version of Tumhaara Jai Ho or “May You Have Victory (over Self/Illusion). Just as “Jai Baba” really means “Baba’s Victory (over Illusion)” or something like that. But ho is also the imperative of hona (to be). So I would translate it as “May there be Victory.” Not a bad sentiment, though it does leave out Baba as the instrument of that victory. Just my two paise’s worth.
Found on the Internet: Jai Ho! Meaning something between “Hail” and “Hallelujah.” . . . Jai Ho is used when you are doing prayers in India. Usually used at the end of a prayer. A. R. Rahman had stated that Jai Ho means “May Victory be Yours.” So the meaning revolves around the word “Amen.” It’s the Indian term of “Amen.” When saying Jai Ho, it also means “Finally.” Technical: “May you be victorious.”
What’s wrong with saying “Jai Ho”?
Every time I hear or see Jai Ho I feel terribly conflicted—as if I had been thrown into a Bollywood movie and taken out of the companionship of His Lovers—and this by the very people who accompany me on the Path! I wonder then what became of plain old “Jai Baba” and I feel sad. After all, Jai Ho means (as far as I can remember) “Victory unto you,” whereas Jai Baba puts the focus squarely on the Beloved and for me at least, acknowledges the divine in you and in me. I really do not mean to alienate anyone or raise any hackles. But I do welcome a hearty defense of and/or explanation of the recent replacement of our long-time Meher Baba greeting with this Slum Dog Millionaire reference.
Makes my skin crawl. It’s an outgrowth of the Bhau groupie-ism that began when he became “Pretty Much the Last Remaining Male Mandali.” Blind imitation—as if the mandali are Baba (contrary to what Baba Himself stressed).
I think “that other phrase” (feels too yucky even to type it) is a distraction, a dilution, a cheapening of the intimate power of His Name in “Jai Baba!”
It also begins a very distasteful stream into the future, when “posterity” (which has already begun) will replace the feeling of the power of His Name with such jargony clap-trap.
It makes me wistful for the days when some lovers expressed real concern that saying “Jai Baba!” as a ritual greeting minimized the Power and Profound Meaning of those words.
I have a strong distaste for the expression “Jai Ho.” Every time I hear it I cringe. I can’t even explain wh—as close as I can get is this: a vast amount of power is being pulled to the wrong place. That is my sense. Whereas “Jai Meher Baba” sings in my blood. I am not criticizing Bhau. I worked with Bhau in the Trust Office in 2004. I know his quality . . . his goodness. I learned a lot from him and he has my respect. Definitely. It is specifically this “Jai Ho” expression that does not resonate with me.
I do find it a little irksome as, to me, it smacks of ego—of self, of males, of patriotism, and other group identities. “Jai Meher Baba” is perfectly sweet and simple, and for me, it is my deep wish for us all that His victory in what He came to achieve for creation should indeed become so. JMB.
As I read this entire post, I am not seeing any reference to the obvious: “Jai Ho” is mainly used by people who are close to Bhau. To me saying “Jai Ho” deprives me of the opportunity to say Baba’s Name. I for one will stick to “Jai Baba,” thank you!
I’m quite sure that it’s just a phase. And people will grow out of it. Besides it does not hold The Power of “Jai Meher Baba.” “Jai Ho” doesn’t mean anything to me. I don’t even know what people are talking about. Jai Baba! . . . Personally I am not keen. I will stick with the words that have Real meaning and significance. Jai Baba!
There is nothing like giving and receiving a big hug and a Jai Baba! from a brother or sister in Baba’s love. I really don’t care how one greets me . . . just keep those antennas tuned to Baba’s LOVE.
Thank you, thank you all lovers of God, all you lovers of our most precious Avatar Meher Baba. I am deeply appreciative of your outpourings, and it fills my heart to be a part of such a vital and passionate conversation. I am certainly much clearer on the usage of this phrase and I have a much better idea of all those I do not know, and my heart warms to you and also again to all those I have known this remarkable lifetime. Since 1969, Jai Baba and Jai Meher Baba have been an intimate part of the communion I have had the privilege of sharing with His Mandali and His Lovers. For me, this magnificent Aloha-of-a-greeting has always filled me with the Divine fragrance and warmed my heart on any bitter and chill day. So, though I have not warmed to Jai Ho yet, at least I feel it is now a part of my inner Baba conversation and for that I am deeply grateful to you all. Jai Meher Baba all, and in fact: Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai! Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai! Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai!
What’s OK about it?
I haven’t read all these posts, but for me, JAI BABA is a staple and I don’t know that I’ve ever said or written “Jai Ho!” “Jai Ho” to me has an exclamatory feel, and I don’t mind it, when I hear it, but it is certainly never going to replace “Jai Baba!” for me. It seems more like a general pep-BL cheer . . . not particular to Baba-lovers, but I’m ok with most Indian flavors in the English language. I’m glad that if it made you uncomfortable, you were able to bring the matter up.
In some defense of Bhauji’s usage of Jai Ho, it should be pointed out that in my observation, he never but never says Jai Ho without also saying Meher Baba’s name multiple times; there’s also a lot of “kar”s thrown in there for good measure [kar meaning “to do” while ho is “to be” — thus bring us back to the Plato / Sartre / Sinatra meme, but I digress). Jai ho Meher Baba ki jai (and suchlike).
I don’t think I know anyone around Walnut Creek who walks up to Baba friends and says Jai Ho! 🙂 That having been said, I love the way Mischa Rutenberg takes various music genres and turns them inside out in praise of Meher Baba. Whether it is a tango in Spanish, or a contemporary Bollywood beat, country music riff, or Persian instrument delight, electric guitar and keyboard with tabla and harmonium, all can be a refreshing turn of our attention to the Avatar of the Age, the great Kalki Avatar, the Avatar of the Great Cycle of Cycles . . . Meher Baba. I subscribe to Mischa Muse on YouTube, so I never miss a new interpretation in praise of Baba, or Mehera, or Baba’s animals, or the Masts. I see the Jai Ho Meher Baba video/music the same . . . a contemporary take on a contemporary cultural phenomena turned into praise for the God Man~ ♥